Shaloo Garg Joins Microsoft for Startups Team
I'm humbled to be joining Microsoft where I will be leading the startup business growth for Silicon Valley and Southwest regions for Microsoft for Startups. I’m ecstatic not only to continue working with startups, venture capitalist, private equity firms, universities, accelerators and Innovation Labs but to be a part of the company that values Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) so deeply. As a strong supporter of D&I, I have been in awe of some of the bold moves Microsoft has made to support D&I in the tech industry. After joining the company, it’s pretty apparent that the mindset is embedded deeply in the culture. It is also apparent that culture is the cumulative effect of what people do and how they do it – and it determines an organization’s performance. I’m looking forward to expanding on Microsoft’s values to underrepresented founders, women entrepreneurs etc.
The gamut of topics is wide in the startup ecosystem but one that’s always intrigued me is the relationship between startups and enterprise customers. It’s an interesting mix of startups with disruptive agility and risk taking cast against corporates the majority of which are in midst of exploring digital transformation either with organic growth by investing in R&D or by emulating the startup model. Corporates that do not ride the digital disruption wave are likely to take a hit on revenue and profits and those that respond boldly and at scale as part of their corporate strategy will emerge from disruption with higher trajectories in both areas.
Which begs the question- why is the corporate- startup partnership so vital in the ecosystem? It comes down to 3 reasons:
- Startups after defining market segments, business models and value chain want to take their commercially viable solution to large corporates to build their revenue pipeline. That said, not every interaction with a corporate lands a proof-of-concept (POC) or a sale, but what it does do is elevate startup’s visibility in the target industry, pivot products based on feedback and increase the potential for joint ventures and or acquisitions.
- Enterprises on the other hand are increasingly integrating their core business functionalities with 3rd parties and their platforms. But rather than treating them like partnerships of yore, forward-looking leaders leverage these relationships to build their role in new digital ecosystems—instrumental to next wave of strategic growth. As they do, they’re designing future value chains that will transform their businesses, products, and even the market itself.
- Corporate to Corporate relationship via a Startup- Companies compete through strategic partnerships, and when these partnerships are technology-based, they can expand partner networks faster and into more ecosystems than ever before. I was once doing a CVC with a Chief Digital Officer of one of the largest banks in APAC who shared that since the whole industry around him is buzzing with Blockchain, he had decided to allocate funds to building an internal Blockchain Innovation Lab. But his biggest impediment was that his team did not see any value in Blockchain which was frustrating since his industry competitors are further ahead in the curve. Fast forward a year later, I ran into him at a conference and he mentioned that he had partnered with another corporate and are sharing best practices around hyper ledger and comparing notes on key startups in the ecosystem. Corporate to corporate relationship via a startup is not only beneficial from a financial perspective but also from scale and distribution.
Last year we committed $500M over the next to support startups and will take a long-term view to drive break through innovation with our unique differentiator of structurally connecting startups with our customers, partners and product development organizations. The playing field is never leveled for entrepreneurs. What is business critical for one startup may not be for another. But the common denominator will continue to remain building and sustaining value chain with corporates. Enabling this is the best part of my job and I love it!
See you in the field!